1 Introduction

Essex Book Festival was set up in 1999 and is an independent charity. It takes place over a one-month period, hosted by over forty venues, across one of the UK’s largest and most diverse counties. It aims to celebrate the book and storytelling in all its forms.

We welcome and encourage Volunteers, without whom our Festival would not be possible.

This policy sets out the broad principles by which Essex Book Festival will manage, recognise and promote the involvement and contribution of its volunteers.

1.1. Essex Book Festival volunteers are all persons giving their time freely and by choice, and without concern for financial gain.

1.2. This policy has been drafted keeping in mind the mutual benefits resulting from the relationship between the volunteers and Essex Book Festival, and will be reviewed annually to ensure that it remains appropriate to the needs of the organisation and its volunteers.

2 General principles

    2.1. There is no obligation for the volunteers to attend or fulfil the required tasks, and for Essex Book Festival to provide work and benefits/rewards for volunteer help. Both parties understand that their relationship is based on mutual agreement, trust and understanding, and there is not a legally binding contract.

    2.2. Essex Book Festival will recruit volunteers with the knowledge, skills and experience to match the needs of the organisation and based on its Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy.

    Essex Book Festival is committed to being an inclusive and welcoming organisation. We welcome volunteers from all backgrounds and recognise that each volunteer is different, and all deserve an equal level of respect and equal access to opportunities, training and facilities.

    2.3 Essex Book Festival will also abide by its Health and Safety guidelines in recruiting and managing its volunteer base, and treat volunteers’ personal details as strictly confidential.

    2.4. Essex Book Festival volunteers are part of the organisation’s Public Liability and Employers’ Liability Insurance. However, any harm caused to others by the volunteers or to the volunteers themselves due to consumption of alcohol and illegal substances, is exempt from the insurance policy.

    3 Recognising the value of volunteers

      3.1. Essex Book Festival recognises the importance of volunteering and intends for the volunteer programme to be mutually beneficial. The benefits for Festival volunteers are set out in Policy point 5.1 – 5.4.

      3.2. Essex Book Festival recognises that volunteers are a valuable resource, and is grateful for the services they offer. While it is acknowledged that volunteers share the organisation’s objectives and values, their motivations might vary. Essex Book Festival will do its best to understand and fulfil volunteers’ expectations on an ongoing basis.

      3.3. Thanks to the help of its volunteers Essex Book Festival will benefit through an extended operational capacity and increased community involvement in the Festival. The extended workforce will allow Essex Book Festival to bring more visitors and a wider audience to the venues and provide them with top quality service as well as to organise more activities, with the aim to reach a broader part of the local community and visitors to Essex.

      4 What is expected of Essex Book Festival volunteers

        4.1. As the success of the Festival depends on the commitment and knowledge of our volunteers, they are highly encouraged to attend the induction session organised by Essex Book Festival.

        4.2. Volunteers are expected to attend to their assigned shifts on time and report to the Volunteer Coordinator immediately if their availability changes or they are unable to attend.

        4.3. Volunteers are ambassadors for Essex Book Festival and agree to represent the Festival in an enthusiastic and positive way.

        4.4. All volunteers are expected to respect confidentiality in dealing with personal and confidential data. When approached by the media, volunteers should pass on any enquiries to the Festival Director or Festival Coordinator.

        4.5. Volunteers agree to cooperate with Essex Book Festival during any potential volunteer screening processes, as required by the nature of the volunteer role. In addition to that, volunteers are expected to understand and commit to the company’s Equality, Diversity and Inclusion Policy and the Safeguarding Policy, and, to abide by the company’s Health and Safety guidelines.

        4.6. At the end of their experience volunteers will be encouraged to complete the evaluation feedback form, to help Essex Book Festival improve its volunteer programme and to address any organisational issues as suggested by volunteers.

        5 What volunteers can expect from Essex Book Festival

          5.1. Volunteers will benefit from interaction with audiences, authors, performers, artists, existing staff and other volunteers, meeting new people, learning new and developing existing skills, and helping to ensure that the Festival is a success.

          5.2. Essex Book Festival hopes that volunteers enjoy their time helping with the delivery of the Festival, and do so with satisfaction. Essex Book Festival promises to do its best to make all volunteers feel welcome and valued, and to ensure that, as far as possible, volunteers are protected from physical and emotional harm arising from their activities. There will always be an EBF Rep at events who will lead a volunteer briefing at the start of each event. Should any situation arise which a volunteer finds difficult or challenging, they should refer to the EBF Rep.

          5.3. Depending on the length of their shifts volunteers will be provided with refreshments.

          5.4. A lanyard will be provided. Volunteers will be offered complimentary access to up to four Festival events (subject to availability).

          Find out more about Volunteering at Essex Book Festival